A dentist’s unforeseen illness is forcing Wiscasset Dental, a practice with about 3,500 patients, to close abruptly after about 11 years in business.

The practice at 93 Churchill St. will have limited office hours until Aug. 23 so patients can collect their dental records, according to a notice Dr. Catherine Bunin-Stevenson sent to patients. Any records not retrieved by the closing date will be destroyed.

Sherri Jewett has worked as an administrator at Wiscasset Dental for the past 8 1/2 years, she said. Jewett is helping patients collect their records.

“This is really sad,” Jewett said. Patients “were first and foremost” at Wiscasset Dental, and many traveled long distances to go there, from as far away as Bangor and Portland, she said.

Bunin-Stevenson established Wiscasset Dental in 2006. Jewett said it was one of the few private practices in the state to accept MaineCare.

The practice employed two administrators, a dental hygienist, a dental assistant, and a part-time dentist, in addition to Bunin-Stevenson, she said.

Dr. Marc Melnick, who worked at the practice one week a month, is assisting in the transition, but is not seeing patients in Wiscasset.

For privacy reasons, the nature of the illness that prompted Bunin-Stevenson to abruptly close the practice is not being publicly disclosed, Jewett said. A Facebook post informing patients of the pending closure referenced an “unforeseen illness.”

“It has been our pleasure to serve your dental needs and we thank you for your patronage … Thank you for being a part of our practice and for your understanding during this difficult time,” Bunin-Stevenson said in the notice to patients.

To make arrangements to pick up or transfer records, email wiscassetdental@gmail.com or call 882-4888.